Sinharaja Forest Reserve Overview

Declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, Sinharaja Forest Reserve (kingdom of the lion), is a paradise for nature and wildlife lovers. It is home to a vast number of endemic species of birds and mammals of Sri Lanka. About 95 percent of Sri Lankan endemic birds and more than 50 percent of endemic mammals are known to have their habitats in this Forest Reserve. Year round, the forest is covered by plenty of rain clouds. The area span of the reserve is about 21 KM from east-west and about 7 KM from north-south.


Location: Situated in the Southern Province, a two-hour drive from Galle via Galle-Deniyaya-Madampe Highway.

Highlights: Experience the leisurely pace of wildlife and the splendor of dense and copious evergreen rainforests. The guide will tell you about different endemic species of flora and fauna that you encounter during your guided tour.

Timings: Opens daily from 6:30 AM to 6 PM

Price: Approximate price ranges from 664 LKR to 1160 LKR

Sinharaja Forest Reserve is an important national park in Sri Lanka. Recognized as a Biosphere Reserve and a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, Sinharaja Forest Reserve is home to numerous rare flora and fauna. The area is covered with rare plants and animals that are endemic to Sri Lanka. It is also considered as the country’s last area of tropical rainforest and is thus of great importance.

This reserve spans an area of about 21 km from east to west and 7 km from north to south and densely covered by vegetation that forms a kind of canopy. This thick canopy of tropical trees blocks sunlight and traps in humidity turning this entire Reserve into a massive greenhouse.

The mammal population mostly comprises leopards, elephants and purple-faced langur. The green pit vipers and the hump nosed viper constitute most of the reptile population and tree frogs are an integral part of the amphibian species found in the Sinharaja Forest Reserve.  Sri Lankan Blue Magpie, Red Faced Malkoha, Orange Billed Babbler, Crested Drongo are a part of the 20 endemic bird species found in this forest reserve. Invertebrates including leeches, various species of butterflies and so much more.

Along with the dense fauna of the forest reserve, there are multiple streams, waterfalls in the Sinharaja Forest Reserve that makes it a completely natural ecosystem for the flora and fauna thriving here. There are about a dozen villages that are built along the border of the Sinharaja Forest Reserve and comprises local and tribal people. These tribal groups and the inmates of the Reserve have been living in harmony for centuries.

How To Reach

Sinharaja Forest Reserve is located 82 km from Galle or Koggala Airport. You can hire a taxi or a private vehicle that will take you to the Forest Reserve within 3 hours. There are multiple options of vehicles available at the airport and you can choose according to your budget and the size of the group you are traveling with.

Best Time To Visit

The best time to visit Sinharaja Forest Reserve is either between January to May or August to December. You must avoid the monsoon season to visit any forest or natural reserves as during this time insects, bugs and mosquitoes are at their maximum numbers and diseases predominate. Also, the region receives heavy rainfall that makes it impossible for sightseeing and explorations.

Therefore, January to May and August to December are the best months to visit Sinharaja Forest Reserve.The weather is pleasant and offers a wonderful experience of exploring this  vast expanse of natural wonder.The dry and colder months provide for more comfortable conditions to enjoy hiking expeditions and various explorations.

Other Essential Information

Sinharaja Forest Reserve is located at Sabaragamuwa and Southern Provinces of Sri Lanka. This beautiful wet rainforest stretches about 21 Kms from East to West and around 7 Kms from North to South.

Opening Hours: Sinharaja Forest Reserve is open for visitors from 6.30 am to 6 pm although the ticket booking office shuts down at 4.30 pm. Make sure to reach the ticket booking office early in the morning if you wish to spend more hours at this Forest Reserve.

Entrance Fee: Entrance Fee for adults is Rs.644 and for child, it is Rs.325. Compulsory guide will charge you another Rs.1000 and taking your video cameras inside the forest will need you to pay an extra Rs.560.

Exploring in Sinharaja Forest Reserve

Explore the densely packed rainforest of the exotic island, Sri Lanka. It is a visual treat to walk under the magnificent trees that have formed a natural canopy and as a result, very little sunlight enters the forest, giving it a dimly lit appearance.

2. The green layer of soft grass and moss creates a slippery yet velvet-like ground that seems like a carpet specially placed for you.

3. Sri Lanka is home to more than 26 species of endemic birds. The Sinharaja Forest Reserve has more than 20 endemic bird species and you can always spot the colorful birds from a distance like the Green Billed Coucal, Orange Billed Babbler, Sri Lankan Crested Drongo, etc.

4. The multiple streams that are present in the forest add to its beauty. The sound of the sparkling flowing water, the waterfall falling on the large rocks adds to the perfect ambiance of the reserve.

5. Once you have taken the hike or nature walk through the forest reserve, you will be surprised to find numerous insect species that are very uncommon in your native area and are exotic only to the Sinharaja Forest.

6. Do not forget to witness the beautiful flora of the forest. Make sure you are accompanied by your guide on the journey and the guides speak fluent English and are well learned with the animal species and surprisingly the flora too. They know the names of each and every plant and will tell you about them in detail.

7. Make sure you carry your camera and capture the vastness of the diversity of flora and fauna and return with numerous memories in the form of pictures from the trip.   

Nature Walk in Sinharaja Forest Reserve

Sinharaja Forest Reserve is the perfect example of nature in its raw form. You will rarely witness such unexplored and wild nature along with such rich biodiversity. The forest reserve offers numerous nature walk tours. Some towards the water bodies and waterfalls and some inside the forest and few a combination of both. These are guided walks and provides for a good learning experience for children as well as adults. Some of the best nature walks are:

1. Bird watching trail: To enjoy a nature walk you can opt for the bird and butterfly observation trail that takes you past unspoiled scenery and some amazing bird and insect spotting. The trail is divided into two segments; the first part is about 2 km long and the second part is about 1.5 km in length.

The first section is perfect for all age groups and it starts near Ecolodge and goes on up to Samangala. The second section is an extension of the first section and follows the same trail. This area is a great place to view various species of exotic birds and Macaque monkeys.

2. Night Trails: Night trails are organized tours that lets you explore the many wonders of this large expanse of untamed nature after sundown. This is a whole different experience that every nature enthusiast should try.

Bird Watching in Sinharaja Forest Reserve

While exploring the many wonders of Sinharaja Forest Reserve, it is really hard to resist the temptation to sign up for a bird watching trekking tour. This National Park is known to the world as a prominent biodiversity hotspot and home to a large variety of birds some of which are endemic to this region. Spreading across a sprawling area of about 8000 hectares and located at an elevation range of 300 – 1000 metres, this rainforest is a safe abode to more than 147 avian species.

Whether you are an avid bird watcher or a newbie at this sport, birdwatching is a must try activity whenever you visit the Sinharaja Forest Reserve. The most commonly sighted birds at Sinharaja Forest Reserve include Red Faced malkoha, Grey Hornbill, Sri Lankan Blue Magpie and White Headed Starling. Trekking routes for bird watching has been designed thoughtfully so that travellers get enough opportunity to know the forest ecology along with its people.

Eateries in Sinharaja Forest Reserve

1. Sinharaja Circuit Bungalow:
This is not a typical eatery venue at this national park but it comes with an in-house restaurant. Once you book your accommodation here, you can avail their restaurant facility to fill your tummy.

2. Sinharaja Adventure Resort: This is another good option to enjoy delicious dishes while enjoying a trip to Sinharaja Forest Reserve. This resort paired with a restaurant is located in Kudawa, just outside the border area of Sinharaja Rainforest.

3. Forest Edge Restaurant: This is probably the nearest eatery to Sinharaja Forest Reserve. This Lankagama Road restaurant is located at a distance of 0.1 Km from the forest. It serves Asian, Chinese and other continental dishes apart from Sri Lankan delicacies. Every dish is prepared here with care and they taste nothing less than a home cooked meal.

4. Eco Villa – Sinharaja Restaurant: This restaurant is one of the best eateries that you can find in and around Sinharaja Forest Reserve. Located at Temple Road, this place serves guests with Asian, American, European and Sri Lankan dishes. You have to go up to 7.7 Kms from the forest to reach the restaurant.

5. Tea Garden Eco Villas: This is an awesome hotel that also houses a good restaurant. This place is about 10 Kms from Sinharaja Forest Reserve and can be spotted at Akuressa – Deniyaya Road. Their menu primarily features Asian and Sri Lankan dishes.

Tips for Visiting Sinharaja Forest Reserve

It is best to schedule your Sinharaja Forest Reserve trip in the months of January to March and August to September.

2. As it rains frequently at Sinharaja, you need to keep your rain-protection gears ready with you.

3. Bring sun protection lotion and gears to keep your skin safe from sun-burn and sun-tan.

4. Always cover your face with a mask or scarf as trekking trails inside the forest can be really dusty sometimes.

5. Don’t forget to pack insect repellent.

6. Pack earthy coloured clothes, good camera, extra memory cards, power backup so that you don’t miss any shot.

7. The Forest has a lot of leeches so do not forget to carry some solution to get rid of leeches, incase one latches on to you. 
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